Writing Children's Books

This Summer 2014 course is now closed. Please join our mailing list to find out more about our Summer 2015 course offerings.
WRIT S4313
3 Points
Session I: May 27 - July 3
M, W 5:30 - 7:40 PM
Instructor: Peter Catalanotto
There are many misconceptions as to what makes an appealing story for children and how to get it published. Many novice writers are simply relating an incident as opposed to creating a story. In this course, Students will attain a thorough understanding of what is necessary to create a children’s book manuscript ready for submission to publishing houses and agents.

Beginning and experienced writers will learn how to mine their lives and imaginations for ideas and how to develop those ideas into children’s stories—a step by step process from inspiration to finished manuscript for picture books, early readers, emerging readers and chapter books. Through examining books that the students loved as children they will gain an understanding to create a timeless story that will resonate with children generation after generation. Students will also learn the importance of reading their writing out loud—a process that helps both reader and listener develop a better ear for the story’s pace, cadence and structure. This course will emphasize the power of brevity in children’s stories. Writing for children has become incredibly popular in the past fifteen years and publishing houses have been inundated with manuscripts. Many houses have ceased accepting unsolicited manuscripts all together. This course will disclose other avenues to getting your manuscript into the hands of agents and editors.

Each student will need a writer’s notebook or journal, writing implements and a children’s book that she or he loved as a child.
Tuition & Fees
Most summer courses are offered at the standard Continuing Education tuition rate of $1,512 per point ($4,536 for a 3-point course and $9,072 for a six-point intensive). For more detailed information, please see "tuition and fees":  http://arts.columbia.edu/summer/tuition-fees
Materials fee: $20

About the Instructor

Peter Catalanotto graduated with a BFA from Pratt Institute. He has written and/or illustrated forty-four books for children, including Ivan the Terrier, Matthew A.B.C., Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-it-All, and Emily’s Art, of which School Library Journal  wrote in a starred review, "this heartfelt book is a masterpiece." Peter and his book, The Painter, were featured on PBS’ Storytime and in 2008, First Lady Laura Bush commissioned him to illustrate the White House holiday brochure. In 2004, Drexel University recognized Peter for his outstanding contribution to children’s literature. He has presented his creative process at conferences, colleges and schools in over 40 states and, in 2013, taught Columbia University's first summer course for children's book writing. Peter also led workshops in Rwanda for those who wanted to write their experience of the genocide and revolution. He is currently working on an early reader series, titled Monkey & Robot, for Simon & Schuster.
© 2014 Columbia University School of the Arts | 305 Dodge Hall, Mail Code 1808 | 2960 Broadway | New York, NY 10027 | (212) 854-2875 | EMAIL
Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.